Baking a pan of cornbread is the beginning of this unique oyster dish from the Apalachee Bay in the Gulf of Mexico, south of Tallahassee, Florida.
At low tide the local women there often waded out on the sandbars to harvest oysters. At noon they came ashore and built a fire to warm them up while they cook their lunch.
Traditionally the gathered oysters were shucked and then dropped into a bucket along with a piece of fatback & chopped onion. The cornbread brought from home was crumbled and added, giving the dish its unique name.
APALACHEE BAY OYSTER CRUMBLE
- ½ stick butter
- 4 bacon Slices, cut into small pieces.
- 1 pint Taylor Pacific oysters, rinsed
- 2 cup Cornbread, crumbled
- 1 cup Milk, approximately
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dash of Tabasco or other hot sauce.
- Choice of garnishes: slivers of pimiento, chopped parsley, chopped chives or light dusting of paprika
- Sauté the chopped onions in butter.
- Fry bacon.
- Mix bacon and onions together.
- Shuck the oysters, reserving about 1 cup oyster liquor. 2
- Pour the oysters into the onion butter mixture.
- Cook until the edges curl, about 3 minutes.
- Add reserved oyster liquor and crumbled corn bread.
- Pour in the milk.
- Blend the ingredients and heat until steaming.
- Remove immediately from heat.
- Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco.
- If the stew seems thick, add more milk.
- If thin, add corn bread crumbs.
- Ladle into heated bowls and top with one of the garnishes.